Remember Tomorrow

Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae and his dog Bon...
Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae and his dog Bonneau / Le lieutenant-colonel John McCrae et son chien Bonneau (Photo credit: BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives)

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day.  The reason I am doing this post today, instead of tomorrow, is so that I could announce that the War Museum in Ottawa is offering a live webcast of the ceremony via its webpage.

If you don’t recognize “Remembrance Day,” perhaps you know it as Poppy Day or Armistice Day.  We know it celebrates and remembers the brave soldiers who served and died for us.  But the date itself has another meaning:  It’s observed on 11 November to mark the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. The war formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.”

As per Wikipedia: “The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem “In Flanders Fields“. These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their brilliant red colour an appropriate symbol for the blood spilled in the war.”

Flanders Fields
Flanders Fields (Photo credit: SzymonB)

The first chapter of In Flanders Fields, and Other Poems , a 1919 collection of McCrae’s works, gives the text of the poem as follows:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander McCrae is, of course, best known for the above poem.  He also was a physician, author, artist and soldier during World War I, and a surgeon during the Second Battle of Ypres, in Belgium.  It is repeated by many that fellow soldiers retrieved the poem after McCrae, initially unsatisfied with his work, discarded it.  One thing is true is that it was first published in the London-based magazine Punch on December 8, 1915.  There’s a wonderful video about this at Historica Canada, part of Heritage Minutes.


  1. Thanks TK! I wrote about this too, for slightly different reasons – white poppies, and then one for my uncles. Everyone should know the details behind this day. We’ve been having quite the conversations about our government cutbacks for veterans out west.

    Cheers to you.


    • Great! We really must try, sometimes, to get a few messages out, beyond the “day to day” … unless someone mentions it, or writes about it … well, you know.
      Cheers to you and yours!


  2. Reblogged this on weggieboy's blog and commented:
    It’s called Veterans Day in America, but it honors those who served, often sacrificed themselves, to the greater good of preserving our freedoms. November 11th. It’s more than patriotic displays at monuments and grave sites. It’s remembering these people and their service to country so we don’t easily send more people into harm’s way.


  3. I’m reblogging this post. I don’t know that I can match it, and it is important that people remember the “why” of November 11th, not just make it a one day chance to wear a red poppy they don’t associate with anything other than the charity named on the attached tag.


  4. That poem always makes me cry.

    At a time in my country when veterans can’t get their benefits because of budget cutbacks that slow down changes from paper to digital records and extreme politics that shutdown the government for 16 days (including the Veterans Affair Department) so no work at all is possible on the backlog, anyone who tells a veteran “thank you for you service,” better be someone who didn’t vote for Congressmen and Senators who are responsible for those budgetary cuts. If they did, they are the worst sort of hypocrites!


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